April 15, 2014

Lisa: Cool Girl

I'm putting the "Cool Girl" pages of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl here so I can find them any time. It's a little long (and maybe a little aggressive), but I think it's worth a read for any young woman. I'm not saying it's gospel truth--Amy Dunne is a sociopath, after all--but at a minimum it's thought-provoking. I hope I can figure out who Real Lisa is and be that person, or at least pretend to be the person I want to be, not someone else's ideal.


That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She's a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she's hosting the world's biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don't mind, I'm the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they're fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men—friends, coworkers, strangers—giddy over these awful pretender women, and I'd want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who'd like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I'd want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn't really love chili dogs that much—no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They're not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they're pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you're not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn't want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version—maybe he's a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn't ever complain.

I waited patiently—years—for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we'd say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.

But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl. Men believed she existed—she wasn't just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren't, then there was something wrong with you.

I was probably happier for those few years—pretending to be someone else—than I ever have been before or after. I can't decide what that means.

But then it had to stop, because it wasn't real, it wasn't me. It wasn't me, Nick! I thought you knew. I thought it was a bit of a game. I thought we had a wink-wink, don't ask, don't tell thing going. I tried so hard to be easy. But it was unsustainable. I hated Nick for being surprised when I became me. I hated him for not knowing it had to end, for truly believing he had married this creature, this figment of the imagination of a million masturbatory men, semen-fingered and self-satisfied. He truly seemed astonished when I asked him to listen to me. He couldn't believe I didn't love wax-stripping my pussy raw and blowing him on request. That I did mind when he didn't show up for drinks with my friends.

That was pure, dumb Cool Girl bullshit. Again, I don't get it: If you let a man cancel plans or decline to do things for you, you lose. You don’t get what you want. It's pretty clear. Sure, he may be happy, he may say you're the coolest girl ever, but he's saying it because he got his way. He's calling you a Cool Girl to fool you! That's what men do: They try to make it sound like you are the Cool Girl so you will bow to their wishes. Like a car salesman saying, How much do you want to pay for this beauty? when you didn't agree to buy it yet. That awful phrase men use: "I mean, I know you wouldn't mind if I…" Yes, I do mind. Just say it. Don't lose.

So it had to stop. Committing to Nick, feeling safe with Nick, being happy with Nick, made me realize that there was a Real Amy in there, and she was so much better, more interesting and complicated and challenging, than Cool Amy.

December 06, 2013

Lisa: hashing it out

Lisa: Is Lion King the first Disney with explicitly premeditated murder? Or do, like, the oysters on Alice In Wonderland count?
Jeannie: Snow White? I mean - she didn't die, but the witch tried.
Lisa: She just tried to put her to sleep, though, right? It's not the Grimm version.
Lisa: Hmm. Also, Gaston does purposely incite a mob to try to kill the Beast.
Jeannie: That too. What about Bambi?
Lisa: I think hunters would argue they aren't murdering animals.
Jeannie: Right, but Disney gave it personality. And based a movie around an animal. Where do we draw the line? Because...the lions are animals too.
Lisa: Also Maleficent tried to murder Aurora, but Merryweather softened the spell.
Lisa: But in Lion King it's animal-on-animal violence. I think it's another level.
Jeannie: Some gnarly shit going down.
Lisa: Truth.
Lisa: Maleficent's was arguably a crime of passion.
Jeannie: I think either way you have to go with some assumptions. They're animals so it's all good, or they're characters so you have feelings about deaths. No matter who commits them.
Lisa: No, because the humans in Bambi are like unseen, all-powerful, dangerous gods. It's like being killed by a tornado. I mean, obviously you have feelings about Bambi's mom's death. It's a tragic truth of the wild, though.
Jeannie: One could say the same thing then about lions killing each other.
Lisa: You don't see them evilly plotting to kill Bambi's mom specifically, like Scar.
Jeannie: That is true. I still cry when I watch that.
Lisa: The humans in Bambi are at worst like the rainforest-clearing developers in FernGully.
Jeannie: I guess the end result is still the same. But you're arguing intent affects how you feel about this.
Lisa: Yes. I guess I'm arguing am I encouraging my child to plot the murder of a sibling who gets in the way of her ambitions? Which I consider worse than encouraging her to become a hunter.
Jeannie: Okay. That's another story, right? Have you read Cain and Abel to her? (Joke)
Lisa: Hee. And no. Have you read Robin the one where Gaia kills the wiccans?
Lisa: I've literally got nothing.
Jeannie: Hahahahaha. I have a bible, okay? It is fascinating. And the basis for a lot of amazing literature. Pertinent: one of my all-time faves, East of Eden.
Lisa: Well, don't read it to Robin. That shit is violent
Lisa: -ly boring.

November 23, 2012

Lisa: Skating in New York City

Since I just had my 34th birthday, I've been working on my 35 x 35 list, crossing off things I've done and gearing up for things I want to try to accomplish this year. In doing so, I realized that (like most of what I've done in the last few years) I never blogged about visiting New York over New Year's at the end of 2009. I did hastily throw up some photos on Facebook. Anyway, I'm not going to blog about the trip today, either--but I AM going to post about crossing something off my list while we were there.

12. Ice skate at Rockefeller Center.

Because my family is adorably supportive, they didn't tell me right away that trying to skate at Rockefeller Center was a terrible idea. On our third day there, after standing in line for the ticket lottery for In the Heights, Dave and Angie took me, Blake, Nora, and Sarah to see the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. That's when I saw this:

Yep, all those people packed in at the side of the rink there are waiting to skate. Now, I love skating, but I hate crowds. And it was freezing cold. And we had a little two-year-old Nora with us, who refused to wear gloves. It was time to modify the goal. Dave heard there was a skating rink at Bryant Park, so after Sarah and I were finished with the play we met up with the rest of our group there. Guys, the wait was two hours minimum, it was even colder than it had been when the sun was out, and we still had a toddler in tow. We gave her a ride on the carousel, and then ran for the warmth of the New York Public Library to reassess.

Dave and Angie knew of one more skating rink, this time in Central Park--walking distance from their neighborhood. Sarah and I decided to wake up early and hit the rink first thing, without dragging Nora along. Even when we looked out the window and saw this, we stayed strong:

We couldn't figure out the park signage, and blundered around the completely deserted park in the snowstorm for an hour before we happened upon the Wollman Rink, which was miraculously open and staffed in spite of the weather (and the fact that it was New Year's Eve). We ignored the naysayers, rented our skates, and clomped through the empty (but still smelly) locker room and out onto the ice. The snow stopped, the clouds parted, and we skated for an hour in front of the New York City skyline. Mission accomplished, and back in time for brunch.

April 04, 2011

Lisa: Happy birthday to us!

Happy eighth birthday, Two Loose Teeth! Here's hoping the upcoming year will be more filled with pithy posts than the last year has been. Thanks for being my blogging buddy, Sarah. I can't think of anyone I'd rather share my brain with.

And now I will pretend that I made this tooth-shaped cake in honor of this momentous occasion, instead of for Marci's dental-hygiene-themed Crown birthday last summer. The face is modeled after the illustrations in this awesome picture book. (Edited for later reference: I baked the cake in the same cupcake-shaped pan I used for Blake's mushroom cake for his Super Smash Brothers Brawl birthday party [see it on Facebook here] and then shaved it down a bit to shape the roots and crown of the tooth.)

December 22, 2010

Lisa: 2009 ornament: Cthulhu

Since I'd been so obsessed with making amigurumi earlier in the year, I decided I had to crochet some for the 2009 ornament exchange.

I'd been wanting to try a pattern from my new Creepy Cute Crochet book, and some nerdy reading on the internet helped me decide that tiny Cthulhus would be just the thing.

I got started in early December, making all the pieces assembly-line style.

I find terrible/awesome movies from the past are the best to watch while crafting. Start with The Cutting Edge. Use the time when you're actually looking at the screen to contemplate the inexplicable hotness of D.B. Sweeney.

I thought when I got to assembling the heads, little tentacles and eyes and hanging ribbons and all, that I was almost done. I was wrong. Because you know what takes an excruciatingly long time? Crocheting TEN of the same amigurumi all at once. Heaps of thirty tiny tentacles, twenty tiny arms, and twenty confusingly-shaped wings can get overwhelming.

Anyway. Once the pain of construction was past, and I just had ten cute little baby Cthulhus staring up at me, I picked up some white fold-down bags and blue ink from Xpedx. The uppercase O stamp from my alphabet set was perfect for simulating sucker marks across the top, and I just wrote the theme title across that in coordinating blue Sharpie. Success!

August 01, 2010

Lisa: Croquembouche

I had been considering trying my hand at making a croquembouche--which is a fancy French cake that is basically a tower of cream puffs held together with carmel and surrounded by a web of spun sugar--and Kaeleigh and McKenna's joint Great Gatsby birthday party (which I already mentioned in this entry on vintage hairstyles) seemed like the perfect opportunity. Plus, croquembouche is the perfect cooking project for me: impressive result, fairly easy to put together, and not at all practical or nutritive.

I was running super late for the party and trying to get out the door, so I didn't have time to take photos of the completed dessert. It was glorious, though. There were sparkles and sugar daisies. Anyway, I swiped a few pictures from Kaeleigh's Facebook albums that at least give pictorial evidence that my croquembouche really existed. (If you check out those photo albums, be sure to look for the Robert Redford movie being projected on one wall, which made an incredible backdrop.)

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

This entry from La Cerise was the most helpful when I was putting my croquembouche together. Lots of sites like this one will give you more help on how to make caramelized sugar if you haven't done that before, and I'll tell you my number-one secret to making this project super manageable and fun: frozen cream puffs from Costco. Yep. More info on croquembouche construction after the jump!

Here's what I learned when I made my croquembouche:

1. Unless you're a baking purist, just buy one big box of frozen cream puffs at Costco. Seriously, they taste fine and using them takes all the hard, boring parts out of this process. You can even just pull them out of the freezer and start assembling the tower while they're still frozen. By the time you're ready to serve (long before, probably), they'll be defrosted. I noticed that Astrid at La Cerise had frozen her homemade choux before assembling, which gave me the idea--and I wouldn't even have attempted to make a croquembouche without this shortcut. I am too afraid AND too lazy.

2. The paper cone upturned in a vase on La Cerise is genius--absolutely the way to go. I wish I had buttered mine so it would have slipped off a bit more easily.

3. Be prepared to work FAST. You have to keep the caramelized sugar warm enough to stay pliable without browning it too much. Have everything ready and laid out with a plan in mind before you start the sugar process, and don't leave the sugar cooking on the stove and go start working on your hair. Even if the sugar does get too brown, though (as mine did), all is not lost. It makes the finished caramel have a more crackly texture and a more bitter flavor, which is actually kind of good. The crunchier caramel is more structurally strong than the delicate cream puffs, though, so they're hard to get apart without bursting or breaking the puff. If that happens, just use a fork to break off a hunk of tower wall onto your plate. Problem solved.

4. Caramelized sugar burns like a mother, and you're reaching down into a paper cone with a handful of it and pressing it into a mass of more hot caramel. For heaven's sake, be careful and have some cold water nearby.

5. Strings of caramelized sugar get everywhere--when you're swooping each dipped cream puff over to your paper cone and especially when you're whipping a spun sugar cage around the finished product with a fork. Then those little strings harden like the candy they are and coat everything in your kitchen with a hard, sticky shell. I wish I had covered my work area with a layer of aluminum foil, like Chica and Joe did when they made the candy jewels for their incredible Princess Peach cake.

July 29, 2010

Lisa: Stone Fruit Tea Cake

When I saw what a great review Amy gave this recipe on Angry Chicken, I had to try it myself. It sounded like a perfect storm of everything good:

1) cookie AND cake (cakey cookie? cookie-like cake?)
2) stone fruits (but with the flexibility to use a fruit of your choosing)
3) easy to make
4) slight veneer of healthiness since you don't add sugar to the fruit filling (making it a totally justifiable breakfast food)

Looks good, doesn't it?

Except it wasn't. I mean, it was fine. I would give my version a resounding "meh." I take full responsibility, though. I think I have identified the problem: I used whole wheat flour. Here's the situation. I bought two large bags of whole wheat flour on different occasions after Nora was born, thinking I'd magically become healthier. But (and I keep repeating this to myself) you CAN'T JUST SUBSTITUTE WHEAT FLOUR FOR REGULAR FLOUR IN EVERYTHING. Especially light/sweet baked goods, which is largely what I use flour for. It gives even the most decadent recipes a sort of toughness and a "seems kind of...healthy (frown)" flavor. Possibly more importantly, it is browner than regular flour. Perhaps this is obvious. But when you think the top of your baked masterpiece is a nice golden brown, it is in fact barely darker than the color of the flour itself. What I am saying is that everything I make with wheat flour has a tendency to turn out underbaked. But what are you going to do with all that flour? Clearly, I chose, "continue making mediocre quasi-healthy desserts."

Amy's review is so good, though, that I think this might be worth trying again--as soon as I can justify buying more WHITE flour. I originally found the recipe (which is from Rustic Fruit Desserts) through this review on Gourmet. It looks like it's still linked, but either you have to create an account to view it now, or the content has been taken down. To the library!

May 01, 2010

Lisa: hair-suit

I have naturally wavy/curly hair, and since becoming an adult my attitude has swung like a pendulum between the extremes of 1) celebrating curly hair and decrying the media position that wavy hair is ugly and messy, and 2) forcing it into smooth submission. Recently, I tried a modified version of the "curly girl" method for a while, but now I've swung back into something more styled--using hot rollers regularly. My dad asked if I started doing my hair differently to distance myself from my billboard doppelganger, but it's probably more a case of just getting bored with having the same look every day. Plus, I've been getting more into retro looks lately, and the only decade my natural hair is reminiscent of is the 1980s. Hot rollers are actually surprisingly fast and low-maintenance. There's no tiresome (and damaging) blow-drying or flat-ironing, either; the rollers are my only straightening agent.

But...remember how I couldn't stop raving about Grey Gardens yesterday? Sarah could testify that a good part of what was making me drool with each new outfit was Drew's fabulous 1950s hair.

Barring having a team of experts on hand for styling and touch-ups, what do I need to do to get my hair to look like that? Online research suggests having my hair cut specifically for curling--the words 'wedge cut,' 'undercut,' and 'double cut' have been thrown around. But how do I convince my much trendier stylist (who seems to give me a mullet no matter what I ask for) that this is what I want? Salt Lake City isn't exactly full of salons that specialize in retro cuts.

In the meantime, YouTube is a great source for instructions and tutorials for retro hairstyles. I've been wearing a modified version of this easy pin-up "pomp" fairly often. (You can see it on Facebook here, here, and here.)

I also tried out this faux finger wave bob for Kaeleigh's Great Gatsby party (photos on Facebook here and here) and I was really happy with how it turned out and how easy and approachable it was compared to doing real finger waves. I think the key to shiny hair with the waver is Redken Spray Starch (mentioned in the video), which is tricky to find in stores these days, but gave me a much better result than my Britney concert attempt. I also didn't bother straightening first, but just brushed out pieces of that day's curly style and mashed them into the waver's hungry jaws.

Next up, I want to try some real victory rolls, or maybe this victory rolls and ponytail combo that is supposed to be good for second-day hair. But...that's not really what my hair looks like on the second day after washing at all. Maybe I need to do some more research. Or maybe the texture difference is a result of pin-curling instead of using hot rollers. I think I'll try one of these two videos to set in some pin curls, and see what happens. The part two videos from both of these channels is making me think I need to buy a new brush first, but I can handle that.

Last but not least, four blogs I've read in the last two weeks have recommended a book called Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques by Lauren Rennells (check out her blog here). I wish my library had it, so I could check it out right now. As it is, it will probably languish on my wishlist for a while. But who knows? I may break down and need something to hold me over until Dita's book comes out.

April 12, 2010

Lisa: Wolf Business

For my last birthday party, Sarah and the girls planned an awesome Mad Men-themed party. To keep the theme a surprise from me, she led me to believe I was getting (under protest) another Twilight-themed party to go with the New Moon movie release--this time, appropriately, heavily featuring wolves.

To keep the farce going, Sarah printed out a wolfy party invitation and passed them out to a few friends in front of me. In a central place of honor on the invitation was this drawing of a very well-developed, anthropomorphized wolf.

I wish I could tell you where Sarah found this gem. DeviantART, possibly? What I do know is that there were several conversations about his (its?) abs. And about how (and why) the artist decided to stop drawing when he finished the abs. We ultimately decided it was because he HAD to, for decency's sake. Because what do you imagine would be featured directly below that well-highlighted six pack? A very well-highlighted wolf-schlong, that's what. A big bowl of were-bit stew, is what I'm saying. And no one needs to see that.

Apparently, the creators of Dragon Age: Origins agree with me. When I glanced up at the Xbox game Blake was playing one evening several months later, I caught part of a serious conversation his dwarf, Trog, was having with a gang of very menacing werewolves. With visible abs.

"Wait, pause. Can you pause this? Hold on. I have to go get my camera RIGHT now. I have to send a picture of this to Sarah. This answers SO many questions."

You are welcome, Deviant Artists! Your well-muscled and possibly bipedal wolves no longer need to hide their shame under a blank piece of paper. You can now feel free to sketch them running through the woods, confident in the knowledge that their most wolfy parts are safely shrouded in self-fabric loincloths.

February 06, 2010

Lisa: book character softies

When I saw this adorable dollhouse created for homemade versions of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola on sweet sweet life (found, I think, via loobylu), I knew Nora had to have her own Charlie and Lola dolls.

From there, things sort of spiraled out of control, and she had to have dolls of ALL of her favorite book characters. Luckily, it was harder than I thought to find suitable illustrations of the characters standing alone in a way that made sense for being cut out of context and played with, so the pool was limited a bit. As you can see, we also ended up with George and Martha, the Powerpuff Girls, Cynthia Rylant's Hansel and Gretel, the No No Yes Yes baby, Alice, Eloise, and Edith.

I scanned the images from Nora's books and printed them onto iron-on sheets with my hand-me-down inkjet printer. I love printable iron-ons, and I always keep a few packs on hand for spontaneous crafting. Anyway, I ironed the images onto some off-white cotton duck I already had--actually some old curtains from our first apartment--and cut matching backs out of a set of coordinating fat quarters from JoAnn's. You can kind of see the backing fabrics in this photo:

Nora's still a bit young for her dollhouse, but I think the more she gets into it, the more these little softies will get used. And they're so easy and inexpensive to make, I could always add in a few new ones (maybe even mini family members?) to keep things interesting. Plus, I like the idea of incorporating her favorite characters but retaining the feel of a homemade, non-commercial toy.

November 30, 2009

Lisa: plus, he loves beards

Maybe you remember almost two years ago, when I mentioned David Malki! and his video, Me vs Comic-Con: Who's Better? Well, just in case you've forgotten, I'm mentioning him again. Like, for example, his comic? Wondermark? It's really funny and dry, and often makes me think for a moment, take a second look, and THEN laugh out loud. It's meticulously crafted with vintage engravings in Photoshop, too. I know that because I recently watched part of a Let's Make a Wondermark live stream. It was somehow funny, voyeuristic, fascinating, and slightly boring, all rolled into one. Plus, as a bonus, it reminded me how completely lacking my own Photoshop skills are.

But you know what I might like best about Malki!? His Twitter feed. Or maybe it's how he's offering a free sketched-in artist edition of his book, Clever Tricks to Stave Off Death, to ten of the bloggers who post about him this month. He's nice like that. You should check him out!

June 04, 2009

Lisa: Seriously Cute Crochet

My animals aren't as cute as Sarah's, and my photos certainly aren't as well taken, but I had to share the little amigurumi I've been making from the same book.

Next up: zombies, ninjas, and robots...unless I go with E's suggestion of crocheting Nora an amigurumi Halloween costume, in which case I'd better get started now.

March 02, 2009

Lisa: Silent in the Grave

One-minute book review of Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn.

Read it!

November 23, 2008

Lisa: happy birthday to me!

Blake planned an incredible Twilight birthday party for me with Sarah's help, complete with blood-red drinks,

goody bags including glittery vamp-skin lotion,

and a huge cake depicting a vampire/werewolf battle.

Oh, and of course we saw the movie, which was kind of awesomely serious and cheesy and mockable.

My only disappointment? Not getting to see Edward's enormous, satin-draped bed. Oh, and the fact that the restaurant staff somehow got the impression that I'm a rabid Twilight fan.

Edited to add pictures, courtesy of Sarah!

November 20, 2008

Sarah: Christmas Wish

What are you guys wishing Santa will bring to you on Christmas? Some lovely items I've been lusting after include:

Feather headbands seem to be getting increasingly popular. They're so unusual and dramatic, I think they'd make a great conversation piece or an unusual twist to a basic black tshirt and jeans.

Screenprints, Letterpress prints, photographs, and small scale (think postcard-sized) paintings are an affordable way to give someone a truly special gift and expand their art collection. Two paintings created by my dad, a photo by Mallory, and posters I've collected proudly adorn my walls. Prints of someone's favorite classic work are great, but I think an original work by an as-yet-unknown artist is intimate, creative, and an investment.

Rob Ryan makes some amazing paper cuts. He also has a book that would leave me inspired.

What about you? Are you eyeing some earrings? Do you have a long list of books to read in the new year? Are you yearning for leather driving gloves? A smoking jacket? Tell me in the comments below what you'd most like to receive for Christmas.

Oh, and this year, as with any holiday, I'd encourage everyone to Buy Handmade. Support independent artists and crafters and think outside the big box store.
I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

October 04, 2008

Lisa: bittersweet

Today is my last day working for the library, at least for the near future. My feelings about this are so mixed, but I think excitement for the next phase of my life is winning out.

Thank you, thank you to Dawn for helping me find library science, to the University of North Texas for allowing me to earn an MLS without leaving Salt Lake (and Blake), and especially to the Salt Lake County Library System for hiring and training a brand new children's librarian (and for working around my pregnancy, delivery, and new motherhood for as long as they did). I consider this my career, and I'll be back, refocused and ready to work harder than ever in just a few years.

Thank you also to Concert Black, for making this change possible, and to my mom, whose vision, drive, and very hard work has made our little company run so well that instead of working on it "on the side," it can be my main job. I can hardly believe that I'll be writing myself a paycheck for filling those website orders from home.

Thank you most of all to my little Nora, for coming into my life so fortuitously. You have brightened it and made each day better in a way I could never have imagined. It has been hard for me to leave you every day (even with people who love you as much as Sir, Grandma, and your dad do) and I can't wait to be home with you to watch you changing and growing. I feel like I'm growing because of you, too. And of course, I'll be there to make sure you have on pants.

Phewf! Enough sappy stuff. See you all online.

July 21, 2008

Lisa: This is why we are married.

I admit it: I got sucked into the Twilight books AGAIN. I thought I was too good for that, but the new one is coming out in a few weeks and I couldn't fight it. (For the record, I have actually liked them better the second time around. Don't you judge me.) Anyway, Blake saw me reading one the other day, and started asking questions about this particular vamp universe. You might recall that we've watched a few Buffy episodes and other vampire movies in the past...suffice it to say that each oeuvre comes with its own mythology. Well, I guess I could have just said, "I don't know" or, "who cares," but I'm a librarian. When faced with a reference question, I must find the answer.

Via email:


I thought you might be interested in Stephenie Meyer's (the author's) answer to your question from yesterday.

Q: Is it possible that a human could kill a vampire?
A: Er, not really. A big enough bomb would probably be hot enough to burn a vampire, but the vampire would have to agree to hold still and let it hit him.




Though I appreciate her answer in terms of mythology she just might as well have said it takes magic fairy dust to kill them. "No humans can kill vampires because they have a mystical force shield around them, or rather a miasma that defies the laws of physics."(haha) If it is a big enough bomb they wouldn't have to hold still they couldn't get away. It is not heat that does damage from bombs but rather kinetic energy so if we can determine how much kinetic energy it would take to pierce their skin then we can see whether or not a shot gun can produce enough kinetic energy. She does not understand thermodynamics and kinetic energy but I am preparing the equations just in case she ever asks me. Sorry I am a big nerd but am thankful for your e-mail.




Well, I don't know about the laws of physics, but it's not a forcefield. It's because they're super hard, super strong, and super fast. Here's more:

Q: Why do they sparkle?
A: They sparkle because they have turned to substance that is somewhat like diamond. Their bodies have hardened, frozen into a kind of living stone. Each little cell in their skin has become a separate facet that reflects the light. These facets have a prism-like quality-they throw rainbows as they glitter.

Q: How about stakes through the heart? Reflections? Photographs? Holy water? Garlic? All that traditional vampire lore.
A: Bunch of garbage. I think all of them get addressed in New Moon except garlic and stakes. But you try shoving wood through granite.

Q: Do the vampires have blood in their veins even though their heart no longer pumps? What would happen if they were cut or injured in some way?
A: Most human fluids are absent in my vampires. No sweat, no tears, no blood besides that which they ingest-they don't have their own blood. They do sort of have saliva-the venom makes their mouths wet, at least. When they drink blood, it runs through their body and makes them strong. It floods through their old blood ways, though they don't have circulation anymore. It lightens their eyes and flushes their skin slightly. If a vampire were cut, there would only be blood if he/she had freshly drunk blood (and drunk a lot). Otherwise, there would only be a bit of venom. It would be like cutting into granite.




I am already figuring out the necessary kinetic energy it would take for a thrust object or projectile to penetrate granite. The initial calculations do not bode well for most normal weaponry but several high powered rifles whose bullets reach teminal velocity in their descent can pass through almost 4 inches of granite. It still may not kill one but it certainly could ruin his or her day. Also interestingly enough a projectile like an arrow if propelled near the speed of sound can pass through 6 inches of granite assuming the arrow is made of a similar material. I guess I should invest in a shotgun for zombies and a guass rifle for vampires. But this is just my initial investigation. I am also looking at chemicals that will eat through diamonds. What about a diamond chainsaw blade hmmmmm, interesting. Can I get a chainsaw for Christmas?




I love you so much. But also, don't forget the super speed.




So true. I will have to develop a suit like Batman in a comic book set in the future where he had to square off against Superman. These vampires seem a little like Superman so that is what I should try to defend against, or say screw the whole thing and just hope they want to turn me instead of just eat me.


May 14, 2008

Lisa: quirky

Jessica of How About Orange posted six of her "unremarkable quirks", and I felt inspired to do the same.

1. The sound of a spoon clonking around the inside of a glass blender jar is one of the nicest sounds I have ever heard. It's at least 30% of the reason I make blended frozen drinks.

2. I really like stalking. And spying. And covertly collecting information on people of interest. Not in a creepy way, of course. But, you? Yeah, you with the hair? I have Googled you.

3. Figure skating (singles, pairs, ice dancing, whatever--give me a spangly costume featuring illusion netting and someone swooping around effortlessly balanced on two tiny blades, and I'm sold) is the only sport I really enjoy watching on TV. Are there community ed skating classes for old people? Do you want to sign up with me?

4. Serial killers fascinate me. If I start looking things up in the Crime Library, I get sucked in for hours. I don't let myself read much true crime, because I'm afraid it would become a habit--and there are probably more uplifting (and better written) things I could fill my mind with. Maybe four years old was too young to start listening to Sweeney Todd...no, I jest, you can never be too young for Sweeney Todd.

5. I love typing, and when I get going, I can type almost as fast as I can talk. It's like talking with my fingers, and for some reason that's a little thrilling. Maybe in another life I'll get a job as a court stenographer--but I'd want to do the voices when I read back the transcripts, and I'm pretty sure that's frowned upon.

6. I have written and published on the internet a three-chapter piece of fan-fiction. It may or may not be romantic in nature and was recognized as a featured story on the site. I am simultaneously proud and ashamed. Try to find it at your own risk.

May 08, 2008

Lisa: Strawberry 100%

From the back of a book I checked in this morning:


The hero (me, Junpei Manaka!) sneaks up to the roof to see the sunset. When he opens the door, he startles a mysterious beauty. She panics and runs away, but not before Junpei has caught sight of her adorable strawberry print panties...in EXTREME close-up. With that vision forever burned into his memory, Junpei embarks on a quest to find the girl, and the panties, of his dreams!


Oh, Junpei. We've all been there. May your quest for the perfect strawberry print panties be fruitful.

April 30, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 17

Three days after we baked this week's recipe, Lisa sent me a text message that said something like "Curse you and your satan cookies!" and I couldn't agree more.

These bars were sneakily delicious. On first taste you think "well those are pretty good! And easy to make, too!" You finish a bar and think you might enjoy another tomorrow. You know, perhaps, if the mood strikes.

And then something in your brain snaps and you are a slave to these delicious little bars. They are breakfast! Snack! Dessert! Dinner! You must eat them all! Luckily, Lisa saved me from myself by putting the majority of the dessert bars in the freezer.* I have sold my soul to Blackberry Jamble. At least until I make another sugar-laden baked good.

Recipe after the jump.

*Lisa, I'm sorry. I may or may not have snuck one of these from the freezer. I am ashamed.

Satan cookies, aka Blackberry Jamble Shortbread Bars (from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Desserts)


1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or very finely ground almonds
1 and 1/2 cup blackberry preserves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


If you don’t have almond flour on hand, you can make it like I did by grinding up 1 cup of almonds in your food processor until they are finely ground. It’s going to be combined with the flour so texture-wise, you want to get it as finely ground as possible.

Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl.

Using an electric mixture set at medium low speed, beat it until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

Combine almond flour (or ground almonds) with the flour. Mix well. Combine the dry mixture into the butter mixture on low speed, until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and press 1/3 of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold and firm, at least 30 minutes. Wrap it in Lisa's pink plastic wrap for a fun brain-like effect!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake the bottom crust until it is firm and just beginning to turn pale brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the preserves evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the jam to form a pebbly, crumbled topping. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds.

Return pan to the oven and continue baking until topping is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Use a sharp knife to cut bars evenly into 15 large squares. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and if desired, cut in half on the diagonal to form 30 smaller triangular bars. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

The bars will keep, covered tightly, for about 1 week at room temperature, or in the freezer for up to one month.

February 28, 2008

Lisa: thanks for the heads up

This morning, I finished up helping a middle-aged gentleman on one of the public computers, and then walked back to the information desk. The other librarian on duty was helping a customer at the desk.

Librarian: You might want to wash your hands.
Me: O...Kay...
Librarian: (hands me a canister of Clorox wipes)
Customer: He's filthy.
Me: (wiping my hands) What?
Customer: I saw him sneezing into his hand and then licking it. Over. And over.

February 21, 2008

Lisa: give, said the little stream

Nothing makes you feel more virtuous than giving a little of your hard-earned money away to a worthy cause. If you want to feel better about yourself and about mankind and the future of your country, try donating a few dollars to...


The Dewey book drive, organized by Pamie, sends books to libraries in need--and has been going strong for five years.



Barack Obama's campaign is close to reaching one million donors. As he says,

If we can reach our goal of one million donors by March 4th, we can send a powerful message that the Washington establishment and big-money interests cannot ignore. As one million people with one voice, we can tell them that their days of dominating Washington are coming to an end -- the old politics are crumbling and a new voice is breaking through. Our voice.

Or, if you're strapped and can't give anything yourself,


read this story about a little girl and her family who were given the gift of words. Then go about your day, feeling good about the kind of people that give tangible support to a family they've never met, or an ordinary man who became an extraordinary father, or a girl whose spirit and determination can overcome incredible obstacles and will touch your anonymous heart right through your computer monitor.

February 05, 2008

Lisa: I'm just saying...

To Whom it May Concern:

If you complain to my boss about my appallingly loud voice and even go so far as to suggest that vocal volume should be taken into account during the hiring process, I may be less inclined to help you with your computer problem.

December 20, 2007

Lisa: Free Rice

If you enjoy...

a) Word games
b) The self-satisfaction that comes with having a higher vocabulary level than other people
c) Wasting time at work
d) Ending world hunger
e) Flashbacks to the ever-increasing-difficulty structure of the GRE exam
f) All of the above

...then you should go play FreeRice. They give 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program for every word you get right.

(Thanks, Shifted Librarian!)

September 05, 2007

Sarah: In the Queue after Harry Potter

The lovely and talented Not Martha recently had a drawing for the new book Craft, Inc. on her site. Even though I never win anything (see: lottery tickets purchased on recent road trip), I put my name in the hat and... won! Yay!

I received a signed copy of the book in the mail yesterday, and I'm so excited to read every word!

A big thanks to author Meg Mateo Ilasco, Not Martha, and Chronicle Books!

Oh, and incidentally, Chronicle Books was at Bumbershoot in all their adorable and craft-related book glory. The girl manning the booth even complimented my purse. I love them! Go buy some crafty books. They're all so pretty and full of ideas, I wish I could shoot Chronicle Books into the veins in my eyeball with a needle.

September 01, 2007

Lisa: career day

I love being a librarian, don't get me wrong, but we all have days when we think we might want to try out another profession, right?

Here are a few I think might be fun:

  • small bookshop owner, a la The Shop Around the Corner (but preferably not a bookstore being edged out of business by the nearby big box retailer)
  • owner of a store that sells fancy paper and custom stationery, etc., printed on the in-house printing press
  • private investigator (because some people actually get paid to be all nosy and stalkerish)
  • August 16, 2007

    Lisa: I knew I hung on to those hideous socks for a reason...

    So, if you live nearby, I have an odd request. I'm trying to collect (as cheaply as possible) costume pieces that 8-year-old boys could use to make themselves a superhero outfit. I bet some of you might have appropriate things lying around, such as...

  • a cooling gel-filled eye mask
  • striped knee socks with separate toe compartments
  • elbow-length satin gloves from prom
  • pieces of old dance recital or Halloween costumes
  • a stretchy sequined headband that pulls your hair
  • a ski mask
  • brightly colored opaque tights
  • ill-advised novelty boots from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart
  • spare shoulder pads
  • a reflective emergency blanket

    If you don't have costume stuff to share, or live far away, I'd love more ideas of cheap, commonly available items that I could use!

  • July 18, 2007

    Lisa: practical knowledge

    I was in Provo last week for another children's literature symposium, and here's what I wrote in my notes:

    Venison is the least nutritious meat you can eat. It is 11% protein at best, and always wormy. Beaver is the most nutritious meat you can catch in the wild--it's very high in protein, and tastes a lot like beef.

    I would trust Gary Paulsen on that.

    July 16, 2007

    Lisa: I just don't know how to feel

    I just got poked in the stomach repeatedly by a 13-year-old boy.

    Him: (POKE.) Are you pregnant?
    Me: Ha! Yes.
    Him: (POKE. POKE.) Can you help me on the computer?

    April 20, 2007

    Lisa: one track mind

    While I was setting up the auditorium for our "War of the Worlds" No Girls Allowed program, a four-year-old boy wandered in and gasped with delight at the alien party streamers I was draping around the edge of a table. He picked up a stuffed puppet.

    Boy: "Look! Two zombies on there!"
    Lisa: "I think those are supposed to be astronauts."
    B: "Astronauts! And they're in a planet!"
    L: "Um, I think that's a space ship."

    He picked up another stuffed toy.

    B: "This one is a zombie!"
    L: "That one's an alien."
    B: "..."
    L: "Do you know what an alien is?"
    B: "Aliens aren't even real! They live in space! They couldn't be on Earth because that would be CRAZY!"
    L: "Yeah."
    B: "So why are you decorating with all these zombies?"
    L: "And astronauts and aliens?"
    B: "Yeah!!"
    L: "Well, because we're having a program today about aliens and outer space."
    B: "AND ZOMBIES????!!!!"

    April 17, 2007

    Lisa: word to the wise

    When I am in the middle of helping someone else,

    1) Do not slam your hand down on the counter and shout, "WWWWWWWWWAKE UP!!!!"

    2) Do not follow that up with an enthusiastic statement about how people don't have to be quiet in the library anymore.

    3) When I turn my attention to you, do not ask me an asinine question about whether we have a certain tax form that you already know we don't have ON THE DAY TAXES ARE DUE.

    4) Do not finish our interaction with an exhortation to "SMILE!!!"

    See, I normally give exemplary customer service. I pride myself on it. But when you hit me with all of the above, I have no alternative but to give you the bitch stare of death through the fog of rage that has suddenly enveloped me. Two other customers rushed over and immediately started empathizing with me, which means that either you JUST WENT TOO FAR, or that they took pity on the pregnant lady who looked like she was going to burst a blood vessel.

    Either way, please, don't do those things.

    April 06, 2007

    Lisa: Bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies!

    As Andrea mentioned, we read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane for book club last month. Because it was a kids' book, and because I'm a little craft-obsessed, I had everyone make a bunny out of felt. I was hoping to make these little guys, but I couldn't find the book in time. Instead, I printed some of blue by you's photos for inspiration.

    I love how all the bunnies came out so different and so fun.

    Meet my rabbit, Randall:

    April 02, 2007

    Lisa: Internet, work your magic.

    It seems like all the books I can find on decorating a baby's room or making baby-related crafts are super cheesy and overdone, syrupy-sweet, or just plain hideous. Itty-Bitty Hats is an exception, and I can't wait to get started on the pumpkin hat.

    Can anyone recommend other titles for me that won't bring back the morning sickness?

    March 01, 2007

    Lisa: Thank you?

    I never know what people are going to say to me at the information desk. I think some people don't know what a librarian is, while other people are just strange. I try not to take it personally.

    "Gosh, you're so bright--why do you work at the library?"

    "So are you all volunteers?"

    "Gee, you'd make such a great secretary. Maybe I'll offer you a job!"

    "You have a master's degree? Really? Seriously? So...did you always know you wanted to be a librarian?" (No. Actually, I got my undergraduate degree in music.) "What do you play?" (The flute.) "Oh. I...don't play the flute."

    "You're the smartest girl in the world. And not only that, you're pretty good lookin'! I can say that because I'm old, so it's not a threat."

    "Did you know your thyroid gland is enlarged?"

    "Can I ask your advice? Do you think half a stick of dynamite would be enough to blow up this whole library?"

    Edited because I just had to add one more from today:
    "You always look so nice when I come in here. I prefer brunettes with white shirts and black skirts, and you always look very nice."

    February 08, 2007

    Sarah: I choo-choo-choose you

    February is National Library Lovers Month. Love your local library. Or better yet, love a librarian.

    December 27, 2006

    Lisa: The Illustrated Librarian

    Thanks to Santa, I am wearing a temporary tattoo that says "Read or Die." How awesome is that?

    December 26, 2006

    Lisa: good advice

    As if I needed another reason to love Ken Jennings:

    If both time and money are in short supply this winter, use your body. Romance a lonely librarian. As the movies have taught us, when librarians take off their dowdy glasses and let their hair down, some are real lookers.

    (Thanks, Dave!)

    December 21, 2006

    Lisa: Huh. So, I guess smart people...read books?

    The Shelf Life newsletter with my Ken Jennings interview has finally been published!

    Here's the interview as I submitted it:


    Local Jeopardy champion and Brainiac author Ken Jennings took time out from his book tour to answer a few questions.

    Do you have a memorable library experience you could share?

    My mom is actually an elementary school librarian in Utah County. But my most memorable library experience probably happened in fourth grade. We had gym class before recess some days and after it on other days, and I got the schedules confused and accidentally skipped gym to sit in the library reading Encyclopedia Brown books, thinking it was recess. It took me about 45 minutes to realize that I was missing, not recess, but the fourth-grade mini-track meet out on the soccer field. My assigned partner for the three-legged race was ticked.

    So, the only time I ever cut class in my life (well, until college), I wound up in the library. Nerd!

    How many books do you read a week?

    A week? Wow, that's ambitious. You guys do know that some people, like, have jobs and TVs and stuff, right?

    Actually, I've been traveling a lot lately for the Brainiac book tour, which is a great chance to catch up on reading. I'll read five or six books in a week if there are enough cross-country flights in that week. If I'm home, I'm lucky to get through a book a week.

    What book is on your nightstand right now?

    Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. And in the same stack, also unfinished: that new Brian Wilson biography and a collection of old Little Lulu comics.

    What is your favorite genre to read?

    Novels, especially ones with that faintly literary sepia-photo cover you see on Vintage Books trade paperbacks. That way I look really highbrow when I'm reading on a plane.

    Is there a book that has changed your life? How?

    Monetarily, it's Mike Dupee's How to Get on Jeopardy!...and Win! by a mile. But more personally, I think back to the books that changed my sense of humor, like Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh or (especially) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I read that when I was fourteen and it blew my mind. I wrote and talked like Vonnegut for the next three years.

    Who are your favorite authors?

    Writing today, nobody's better than Ian McEwan or Haruki Murakami. Going a little further back, George Eliot. Dostoyevsky. Fitzgerald. Poe. Too many to name. It's like choosing between your children, if your children were only witty, insightful geniuses all the time.

    Do you remember a favorite book from your childhood?

    I remember every favorite book from my childhood. To this day I could draw you a diagram of Professor William Waterman Sherman's unique hot-air balloon gondola in The Twenty-One Balloons or tell you every secret entrance to the junkyard headquarters of the boy detectives in "The Three Investigators." But I was also the kind of information-sponge kid who would pore over The World Almanac when the new one came out every November, which is, admittedly, a little weird.

    What product would you love to endorse if the opportunity should arise?

    Not to toot my own horn too much or anything, but I'm pretty much a genius on the Etch-a-Sketch. Portraits, landscapes, abstracts...I can do it all. I think I should be the celebrity spokesperson for Etch-a-Sketch.

    Will you be writing any more books?

    Absolutely. I had such a great time traveling the country meeting trivia nuts and putting together their story in Brainiac...I definitely plan to keep writing. Probably a book of trivia, now that I've written the book about trivia. After that--well, part of the curse of being a trivia buff is that you find yourself interested in virtually everything, so that means there's no shortage of subjects I'd like to write about.

    What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

    I don't feel like I have any how-to-break-into-writing advice, except that a 75-game streak on a major syndicated quiz show is a pretty good way to get a book deal. But when it comes to process, I guess the lesson I learned from Brainiac is that almost any subject, no matter how abstruse, is fractal in nature: it becomes endlessly interesting if you just look close enough. If a book about American trivia culture, for crying out loud, can be successfully received, then anything can. So have the courage of your convictions, authors. The things that obsess you will also interest others--if you can just figure out the right way to present them.


    I assume that when the printed version is posted online, it will be found here.

    November 29, 2006

    Lisa: Wanna read? (If you could hear my voice, you'd know that was a Willow reference.)

    If you're looking for some fun, easy reading for the holidays and you're interested in helping out a glamorous but approachable librarian (that'd be me), I'd love it if you'd consider reading one of these kids' chapter books and letting me know what you think!

    Grimoire: the curse of the Midions, by Brad Strickland
    Moose's Big Idea, by Stephanie Greene
    Shamer's Daughter, by Lene Kaaberbol
    The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, by Barb Bentler Ullman
    Ugly, by Donna Jo Napoli
    Wabi: a hero's tale, by Joseph Bruchac

    They're all possible nominees for the Beehive Award for children's fiction. Here's the official review form (it's a Word document), but just leaving your rating and a short comment in the comments area here would be great.

    ETA: Who am I kidding? It would be MORE THAN GREAT! Feel free to leave a request for your reward of choice in the comments area too.

    November 07, 2006

    Lisa: my crybaby you'll be

    I told Sarah about the Children's Book Club blog that I'm a part of, and asked her if she had any book suggestions.

    Sarah: You should write about that "my baby you'll be" book, because it is GUARANTEED to make you cry every time you read it.
    Lisa: I know. It's like the Butterfly Kisses of books.

    Speaking of ridiculous songs that make you cry, 'tis the season again for the "when Mommy meets Jesus" song, so prepare yourself. I find keeping a few fast-food napkins in the glove box of the car is adequate. On the other hand, if you like being manipulated into tears, maybe you should read this book series BASED ON THE SONG.

    Sorry, I just had a rage blackout.

    In other timely topics, don't forget to vote today! If you live in Utah and want to check your polling location, try this handy site.

    Edited to add: read the recap of the Jesus Shoes MOVIE here.

    October 23, 2006

    Lisa: Calling all Brainiacs.

    What should I ask Ken Jennings when I interview him for the library newsletter? Should I try to do something humorous (like the Onion's A/V Club) or high-concept (like questions in the form of answers, Jeopardy-style)? I'm afraid I will come across as either too boring or too dumb.

    So...what do you want to know?

    September 27, 2006

    Lisa: I'm...sorry?

    I just tried to help a charming young girl seeking to further her education.

    Baby Momma: "Do you have the GED study guide for 2006?"
    Lisa: (I look it up.) "Well, we own a few, but they're all checked out. Would you like to put one on hold?"
    BM: "I'm in kind of a hurry. Do you have 2005?"
    Lisa: (I look it up.) "Yes, but it looks like those are all checked out too. I could put one of those on hold...?"
    BM: "I have to take the GED next week."
    Lisa: (Sympathetic noise.) "They probably have some online study aids."
    BM: "I don't have a computer."
    Lisa: "Well...we do have computers here that you can use." (I point to the public computers.)
    BM: "OK." (She stares at me. She obviously doesn't like this answer.)
    Lisa: "...They might have some study guides checked in at the City Library System or at a school library."
    BM: "Like, what school?" (She smirks. Obviously I am dimwitted because if she is taking the GED that means she dropped out of school.)
    Lisa: "The University of Utah library might have study guides like that."
    BM: "I don't have a car." (She just stares at me. I am obviously supposed to fix this problem.)
    Lisa: "OK. Well...I know there are a lot of bus routes that go up to the University."
    BM: (Kind of rolls her eyes and keeps staring at me.)
    Lisa: (I stare back.)

    Baby Momma's friend rescued me by coming over and telling BM that her dad might have a study guide from last year if he hadn't sold it on Ebay yet. Otherwise I don't know how I would have gotten out of that one.

    September 21, 2006

    Lisa: size isn't everything

    Blake should know better than to ask me about upcoming library programs while I'm falling asleep.

    Lisa: I think Charlotte and the spider from Arachnophobia should have a Celebrity Deathmatch.
    Blake: But...the spider from Arachnophobia is like 100 times bigger!
    Lisa: But Charlotte is clever.
    Blake: But...it's just so much bigger than she is!
    Lisa: Blake. She writes words in her WEB. Haven't you ever heard that the pen is mightier than the sword?

    September 14, 2006

    Lisa: Fight! Fight! Fight!

    The Wall Street Journal Online posted an awesome article Tuesday contrasting Encyclopaedia Brittanica and Wikipedia, and featuring an email exchange between Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder) and Dale Hoiberg (Brittanica editor-in-chief). They each have great points, but my favorite part is when they get heated, all "I can only assume Mr. Wales is being ironic." and "Fitting words for an epitaph!" and "Sneaky? I beg to differ." If you have ever found yourself doubting the reliability of the Wikipedia model or participating in a debate over the use of traditional vs. new reference formats (and what librarian hasn't), check it out. Fine family fun!

    August 21, 2006

    Lisa: BookCrossing

    The awesome and hilarious illustrator Lane Smith mentioned BookCrossing in his latest blog, and I had to go check it out. Basically, the idea is that you register a favorite book with the site, then leave it somewhere. If someone finds the book, they read it, comment about it on the BookCrossing site, and then leave it for another reader to find.

    The site is a little heavy on the italics and hyperbole, and I think public libraries and charity shops essentially already meet this need, but the idea is still fun. The most exciting part to me would be to track who gets your book or where it ends up. Plus, you can take a picture of it next to some goats!

    August 14, 2006

    Sarah: Houston, We Have Internet

    That's right, after two weeks, I figured out my internet in my new apartment. Now if I could just figure out the whole wireless thing...

    Oh yeah, did I tell you I got a new apartment? I'm loving it, except that I just killed a spider that was about the size of a quarter (well, including the legs).

    I'm not sure what to say about our books right now. Apparently it isn't enough that Lisa and I share a passion for Britney Spears and karaoke. We have to share a strange obsession with book cover art featuring paper-bag-covered heads.

    I highly recommend my featured book, Why Girls Are Weird. Pamela Ribon made me laugh out loud as I attempted to clandestinely read a few pages of this novel at work. I cried as I read in my bed at night, staying up far too late because I couldn't put it down. I've been a fan of her website for a long time, but this book really impressed me with her captivating story telling and unique look at life. I cared about the main character and felt she had something to teach me about myself. I can't think of something better to have in a novel. Thanks, Pamie.

    August 09, 2006

    Lisa: I love you, Fitzy

    Pride and Prejudice retold with dolls.

    Shh! Shhhhhh!

    Go read it now. You will thank me.

    July 21, 2006

    Lisa: waiting for people to die

    Last week I attended my third children's literature symposium at BYU, and as usual came away energized and more excited about my job. Seriously, they are geniuses to send us to these things.

    Shannon Hale, local author and Newbery Honor winner for her book Princess Academy, was my favorite speaker. Her subject was 'reading for pleasure.' She talked a lot about high school reading curriculums (curricula?) and how people often feel obligated to read the classics, which can make reading more of a chore than a pleasure activity. Shannon had a ton of energy and was hilarious. Here are a few of her points that I jotted down:

  • "Dickens was paid by the word. SUM UP." That reminded me of an interesting idea from A River Runs Through It that has stayed with me much longer than it probably should have. The father of Brad Pitt and NotBrad gives NotBrad a writing exercise. When he completes the exercise, BradDad makes NotBrad cut out half of the words he used, and then cut out half again.

  • High school reading lists are not going to change as long as people with certain attitudes are in positions of power. "What can you do but wait for these people to die?"

  • Literature is about options. We need to allow ourselves to explore many different types and styles of books.

  • Adults need to overcome their prejudice toward young adult literature. Shannon recently wrote an adult book (which she said was "much sillier and shallower" than her young adult titles), and after one rewrite her editor told her they were good to go. She said she was shocked, as she was used to rewriting for a year. Shannon said that adult readers are less discriminating--they are willing to overlook typos, and probably will read the book only once. Younger readers will read a book over and over, analyzing every detail.

  • She had us all take the following pledge: On this day, July 13th 2006, Shannon Hale, the famous and beautiful writer, told me I never have to read a boring book for fun again. Whether I have read 15 or 50 pages, if it is still boring, I can put it down. And if someone tells me that what I'm reading is too young for me because it is a picture book or a comic book or Captain Underpants or too short, I will tell them "You're wrong, thank you very much."
  • Other quotes heard at the conference...

  • "Never trust anyone who writes more than he reads." --Samuel Johnson (I think)

  • "Libraries are the repositories of our will to be free." --Leonard Everett Fisher (or at least the quote was mentioned in his introduction. Mr. Fisher himself is unfortunately a pompous ass.)
  • Nancy Farmer was really fun to hear from too, and I was so excited to get P.J. Lynch to sign my copy of Melisande (now out of print in hardcover)!

    In other news, I have accepted a job at a new library. I am sad to be leaving Whitmore, but I think it's a good move for my career. Wish me luck!

    April 26, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 3

    On Wednesday morning (March 22nd), after running, Janell and I took the bus (a 5-minute ride) to the convention center for the second day of our Early Literacy workshop. We left the workshop a bit early to see Nancy Pearl speak, but when we got there the huge auditorium was already packed. We ended up sitting on the floor along one wall. Unfortunately, the program ended up being mostly publishers introducing some of their new titles, but Nancy did introduce them and she was hilarious. She shared a few things I wanted to pass on:

    People clap before a speech out of faith and hope; they clap at the end out of charity.
    --Bishop Sheen

    She also told a hilarious story about finding herself locked, naked, in a hotel bathroom with a broken door handle. Her first thought was, "I am locked in the bathroom of the Mallory Hotel...and I have NOTHING TO READ." Instead of panicking, she then said to herself, "what would Nancy Drew do?" She got busy with a nail file and soon sprung herself from her prison. Only then did she look back into the bathroom and see the telephone next to the toilet.

    The publishers did introduce a few books that I added to my list of books to read:

  • The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier

  • Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn, by Sarah Miller
  • Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (although that one seems to be a vampire romance...?)

    Anyway, Laura joined us for the afternoon, and we took a bus to Harvard Square where we couldn't resist taking a few pictures on the Harvard campus...

    ...and had lunch at a sort of mongolian BBQ place called Fire and Ice. Then we headed up to the Harvard Museum of Natural History (miraculously arriving during their few free hours) to see the glass flowers. We walked around Cambridge for a while, going in lots of fun shops, and then walked back to the hotel. Along the way back I took a picture of this building...

    ...which is next door to the Cambridge city hall. Back at the hotel we split up, and after dropping of some of our things, Janell and I took the T to Park Street, where the Loews theater is. One of the ladies from the library had gotten us tickets to see the premiere of Hoot, a movie based on the Carl Hiaasen book. We ate paninis (with more hot tea--BRRR!!) at the nearby Emerson Cafe (Which brings up a problem we kept having in downtown Boston: where do people eat? If you don't want Dunkin' Donuts or Au Bon Pain, I think you have to have a secret insider's map of the city.) and then ran through the wind over to the theater. Hoot was pretty cheesy (and approaching Ferngully levels of environmental consciousness), but kind of cute and funny too. Plus, Luke Wilson!


  • April 25, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 2

    It has taken me awhile to get around to posting about the rest of my trip to Boston, because things have been super crazy at work and at home. But better late than never, right?

    On Tuesday morning (March 21st), Janell and I decided to walk from our hotel in Cambridge across the Harvard bridge to the convention center in Boston proper. The walk wasn't long, but it was freezing cold. The good news is that when we were crossing the bridge we got to see the MIT women's crew team out practicing...

    ...as well as some of the Smoot markings.

    Once across the bridge, we stopped at a convenience store for some hot tea, string cheese, and a blueberry muffin (Yes, I actually ate a muffin. And it was DELICIOUS.). Almost every person we saw walking around Boston was carrying a travel mug or take-out cup of a hot beverage, and as soon as I got my own it was obvious why. The cup serves as the best hand-warmer money can buy, and then when you are waiting for the bus you can take a few sips and warm your belly, too. Just make sure you have a cup with a lid that fastens securely, or you will slosh scalding tea all over your hand on the bus, like I did a few days later.

    Janell and I were in a conference on Early Literacy all morning, but on lunch we walked past Copley Square...

    ...to the Boston Public Garden, hoping to see the Make Way For Ducklings statue.

    After seeing the ducklings (the rest of the park was pretty bare and muddy), we had lunch at Au Bon Pain, which we don't have in Utah but that was everywhere in Boston. After lunch, we headed back to the Hynes Center for more conferences. At the end of the day, we walked next door to the biggest, most convoluted mall ever (well, biggest might be an exaggeration) and ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Not really an example of local cuisine, I know, but it was tasty and they do have sugar-free cheesecake.

    After dinner, we stopped at Trader Joe's (another chain that hasn't hit Utah yet), which was AWESOME. I got Blake some of the fruit slice candies he loves (Which I found out are called Boston Fruit Slices and I ended up seeing all over Boston. Curse you, Utah, and your lack of fruit slice candy!) and these low-carb tortilla chips made of soy and flax seed, which were actually really tasty. Too bad they don't sell them online!

    We took the bus back to the hotel and then stopped at the Star Market, which was ATTACHED TO OUR HOTEL, for breakfast groceries and more snacks. The only bummer part of the day was that I completely killed my feet by walking everywhere in stiletto boots.


    March 21, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 1

    This week I am in Boston for the Public Library Association national conference. Here's my first daily report!

    Security was terrible at the Salt Lake City airport, which meant that I barely made my plane, and that my luggage did not. Nevertheless, I got to the gate in time and everything was fine. Janell (another children's librarian from Whitmore) and I watched Pride and Prejudice on my laptop on the plane, but the battery crapped out with ten minutes still to go (wah!). We got to Boston around 4:30 pm, and successfully found the hotel via bus and subway.

    We stayed at the Hotel at MIT, which was AWESOME. I couldn't resist taking a few pictures...

    Here's sort of a dark close-up on the throw blanket:

    A wall sconce out in the hallway that resembles a microchip:

    The lounge downstairs:

    We ate a tasty dinner at the Asgrave, a sort of Irish pub right next to the hotel, and then walked down to Harvard Square. Most of the shops were closed, but we were able to go into the Harvard Bookstore, the Harvard Coop, and Urban Outfitters. We took the subway back to the hotel to get out of the cold and got into bed. My suitcase got delivered at about 1:30 am, alleviating my fear that I'd have to go to workshops the next day with no makeup, wearing the dirty clothes I wore on the plane.

    To be continued!

    March 06, 2006

    Lisa: There is a "biblioblogosphere." Who knew?

    I have gotten a lot of emails lately with links to librarian blogs, wikis, etc. There is some quality stuff here--of interest mostly to librarians, but I think with some general appeal. Here are a few of the latest:

  • NPR program about libraries and technology

  • Library Success: a Best Practices Wiki

  • 10 Library Blogs to Read in 2006

  • The Blogga Song

  • January 31, 2006

    Lisa: A Dukedom Large Enough

    It is hard for me to talk about the serious stuff unless I surround it with a sort of superficial duck blind. Nothing to see here!


    There is a girl in her early 20s at the library dressed completely in pink. Baby pink shearling coat over a hot pink cowl neck sweater; baby pink belt; baby pink jeans tucked into hot pink knee-high ruched stilletto boots. I think she is channeling Madonna? Otherwise I have no explanation for that kind of behavior.


    Instead of going to work last Saturday, I got to attend a children's literature conference at BYU. Authors Katherine Paterson and Kimberly Heuston and illustrator Eric Rohmann gave really excellent presentations. Admittedly I was a bit emotional that day (Possibly overtired? Sorry if your teacher thinks I'm a freak now, Jeff.), but several of the things they said rang true for me. I even took notes! Here's what I wrote down:

    Eric Rohman:

  • "Kids aren't stupid, they're just short." --Mo Willems
  • Kimberly Heuston:

  • Ambition, passion, talent, and the ability to work hard are four independent realities that seldom coincide.
  • Katherine Paterson:

  • when asked what he had learned in Sunday School that day, one child responded "I learned to love Jesus...and sit down, sit down, SIT DOWN!"

  • When a new theory is presented, physicists ask: "Is it beautiful?" Beauty is truth. The components of beauty are simplicity (completeness and economy), harmony (the perfect conformity of parts to the whole), and brilliance (does it have clarity within itself AND shed light on other theories).

  • It is our job simply to put the best books in the hands of children; we can't make someone love a book. If a story speaks to someone it is because of the influence of the Holy Ghost.

  • The bible is not a story of immortal life. It is a story of Earth. It is a story of humanity on earth, which is even more brief. This is the foundation of all great stories.

  • "Truth unadorned, unsentimentalized, is beauty." --Elizabeth Borton de Trevino, I, Juan de Pareja

  • Art is supposed to help us experience the spectrum of human emotion and somehow make us richer and more compassionate, wiser human beings--but the reader gets to choose what to take away from the experience.

  • The terebinth tree mentioned in the bible is a likely etymologic progenitor of the island of Terebinthia in C.S. Lewis's Narnia, which was unconsciously transmuted to Terabithia for Paterson's Newbery-winning novel.


    Two Saturdays ago I was assigned to help out at the KUED Super Reader Party. The library's booth had a Texas theme, and I spent most of my time there folding these "cowboy" hats. I'm thinking of using the extras in a "pimp" storytime.

    P.S. Extra credit to anyone who gets my incredibly obscure title reference.

  • December 05, 2005

    Lisa: Dino-mite

    I always intend to post cute or fun stuff I do for the library, so that I can remember it, but then I usually forget. (See how that works? It's a vicious cycle.) This time I remembered to take pictures, so you lucky people get to hear about my dinosaur storytime!

    Here's the chair where I sit when I read the stories, and you can see the books and stuff that I have set out there. This time we read Find-A-Saurus, Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, and the awesome Dad's Dinosaur Day.

    I set out a bunch of other dinosaur books for the kids to check out, too.

    We always do songs and rhymes between the stories, and then usually one crafty project. On this website, I found a recipe for making dinosaur eggs, which I thought sounded fun.

    You start with a mixture of flour, salt, used coffee grounds, and sand.

    Then you add water to the mixture, to make it stick together.

    I gave everyone a small plastic dinosaur (which were really hard to find for some reason--I finally had to get some at Toys R Us) and a scoop of Dino Dirt, and we packed the dirt around the dinosaurs. The eggs are supposed to look like rocks.

    We let the eggs dry out for a whole week, until they were really pretty hard and rocklike, and then broke them open at the next week's storytime. Cute!

    A few more helpful sites for dinosaur storytimes:
    It's Storytime
    SurLaLune Storytime
    Milwaukee Public Library
    BayViews Storytime Ideas
    The Best Kids Booksite

    August 29, 2005

    Lisa: Oh, Utah.

    This past weekend I went to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival for work. On Thursday I attended a workshop with Charlotte Blake Alston about using rhythm and music in storytelling. She played us a lot of examples of traditional African drumming and songs with polyrhythms. This is all fine. The problem was that the workshop attendees were largely the whitest, squarest, and yet most enthusiastic hippie librarians on the planet. Out of the 24 attendees, six wore Birkenstocks or Tevas, and eight others wore sandals. These fourteen individuals were flexing and wiggling their long, ashy, and (need I say it?) poorly-manicured toes wildly in only the barest approximation of the beat. Many others were also bobbing their heads in obvious enjoyment mingled with musical idiocy. I held still while still trying to look like I was having a good time, in an attempt to balance out the behavior of my fellow participants.

    August 11, 2005

    Lisa: Reason #156 why being a librarian is the best job ever

    A few weeks ago I attended the BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers for work. Most of the events were held at the Provo library (below, swarming with librarians and schoolteachers):

    While we were there, we checked out their children's area for good ideas. Here are some display cabinets we liked (but aren't going to get approval for in our budget):

    And here are some letters that I think we are definitely going to copy. They are foamcore wrapped with felt, with felt cutouts and pipe cleaners glued on. I'm not sure if they were following templates or what, but maybe we can at least use the general idea.

    There were a bunch of authors and illustrators at the conference, giving workshops and signing autographs. They're listed on the page I linked above, but most relevant to this entry is the author Garth Nix. I just read his Abhorsen trilogy for the first time and loved it, so I was excited to hear him speak. I am totally fifteen years old, because he is from Australia, with the cutest accent, and has this dry sense of humor, and he is cute in a slightly nerdy way...

    OK, so that picture is really bad because I took it all stealthily so he wouldn't think I was a crazed fan and I didn't want to take another picture and call attention to myself. I'm sure he would have posed for a picture with me if I had asked, but I was too embarassed. But I did get a chance to ask him questions at one small Q&A session, and he autographed four books for me with my name.

    Anyway, I decided he is added to my nerdy boyfriend collection. I now have a nerdy musician boyfriend, two nerdy TV boyfriends, and a nerdy author boyfriend. Please feel free to suggest new categories and candidates in the comments.


    I wanted to post a picture of the castle I made for the library before we have to dismantle it or throw it away. It was originally for a beanbag-toss game, but we have kept it up as a decoration in the story room for the whole summer. Basically, I drew a picture of a castle on a piece of paper, traced it onto a clear piece of plastic from the laminating machine (in lieu of an actual overhead sheet), and used the overhead projector to project the image onto several big foamcore sheets. I copied the projected lines onto the foamcore with pencil, then laid it down and traced the pencil lines carefully with permanent marker. I painted the castle with Crayola paints, let it dry, and then cut out the pieces and window openings with an X-Acto knife. I taped the pieces together with packaging tape on the back side, anchored it to a big sign-holder thing so that it would stand up, and added the stars with the point values for the bean bag game. The stars are Cafe Rio take-out lids cut out with a Sizzix machine. Yay! I think it turned out really cute.

    May 24, 2005

    Lisa: Princess Peanutbuttercup

    For our summer reading club kickoff party at the library, I am making a princess costume. Our theme is Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds (cheesy, but hey, I didn't make it up). I decided to make the blue dress from the "I would not say such things if I were you!" scene in The Princess Bride. I haven't been able to find any pictures of the dress online, and I have been using a videotape for costume research, so I'm not sure how to make screencaps of my own. Anyway, I'll get some pictures up of the dress-making process soon.

    The POINT is that I have a chin-length red bob with blond highlights. Not exactly your traditional princessy waist-length blond ringlets. I am trying to find a way to disguise at least the short length of my hair, while keeping the soft, feminine look Buttercup has in the movie. I don't think I want to wear a full wig. Here are some alternate options I've found online, but I'm not really loving any of them. Please send me your ideas! The good part is that this is a fairytale/fantasy princess, so I don't have to be authentic to any time period. Basically, it just has to look pretty.

    Gotta love Maid Marian.

    The idea is a stuffed fabric tube with ribbon twined around it and bits of fake hair sticking out the end. It would be fastened to my head somehow under a veil.

    Princess Isabelle from Braveheart. This would involve net caul things over the ears stuffed with fake hair (or lined with fabric) with fake hair braids around them. I'm not sure about the circlet, but I would definitely want to forego the veil around the neck.

    From Padme's Picnic Gown. I could handle the loose ringlets around the face, but I would need some kind of curly ponytail attachment for the back.

    Pop some fake braids on there (if I can find the right color), find a way to slick the rest down in back, and we're good to go.

    Drew wore sort of a be-pearled golden hairnet in Ever After.

    This looks a lot like the pearly hairnet thing too, but maybe a bit smaller and neater.

    Sort of a turban thing. Seems like it would be hard to get it to look right and then keep it up on your head.

    Sort of a fabric bag tied on to the head. This is basically a variant on the hairnet idea, but you can't see the hair through it. Also, I thought this girl looked like she kind of had a bob.

    A bunch of different crown/veil combinations. I don't think I would want anything around the front of my neck.

    May 08, 2005

    Lisa: The Best of Friends

    One of the other librarians found these at the Holladay Pharmacy, and I had to get some. I love George and Martha, and even if I didn't these were just too cute to pass up.

    February 12, 2005

    Lisa: Los Angeles, installment 2

    Our second day on tour, Friday, we had a bit of time before we had to get on the bus to head down to San Diego. My roommate and I decided to walk over to the Los Angeles Public Library, which was only a few blocks from our hotel.

    The gardens outside are full of symbolic statues, fountains, and other decorative elements, including stair risers with letters from different languages cut in brass, copper, and steel. When you enter the library, you can't see any books at all--just long hallways. It's the opposite of the new Main Library of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, which feels so open and modern. Of course, I had to check out the kids' section. Just outside the children's area is a huge, echoey rotunda with painted mosaics on the walls

    and ceiling, and a giant chandelier.

    The children's area itself feels old, full of dark wood paneling and shelves, with glass-fronted display cases.

    The story area

    and a reading nook next to it feel more modern,

    and sort of form a hallway into the ENORMOUS picture book room

    with a puppet theater at one end.

    On our way out of the library, we stopped at the gift shop. They had tons of cute things, and I ended up buying these finger puppets that I thought would be perfect for storytime.

    Anyway, the rest of the day involved driving to San Diego State University for a rehearsal, dinner, and a concert, and then driving back to L.A. I finished the only book I brought, Wind on the Moon, on the way down there, so I stopped at the University bookstore and picked up The Secret Life of Bees to read on the way back. I liked them both.

    One more day's adventures to tell. Seriously, it will be LIKE YOU WERE THERE.

    September 16, 2004

    Lisa: More of the Same

    I don't really have anything new to report, just mostly updates on the same old things I have been talking about for the last little while.

    Car: Instead of taking 5 more weeks, it looks like my Scion will be ready to pick up next week sometime. This is great for Blake, since he won't have to take the bus and/or beg rides from coworkers anymore, and only slightly bad for our home mortgage situation. Actually, I think we have it worked out so that everything will be fine--we're just using some of the cash we originally had earmarked for the car to pay closing costs on the house.

    House: After several recent drive-bys, I have to say that I don't think the sellers are getting ready to move fast enough. They technically have until the end of October, but I keep hoping they will find a house to move into sooner, so that we can then move into their house sooner, and vacate our smoke-smelling, broken-window, plywood-patched-cement-stairs, water-always-running, tiny apartment (go into Cartman singing voice here) in the ghetto.

    Job: Everything at the library is awesome. There is a huge banner still up in the children's section that says "Welcome Lisa." Everyone seems really nice. The library is only ten minutes from our new house (but unfortunately 25 minutes from our apartment). I am still getting used to things and learning everyone's names and where things are. Luckily, I don't have to start doing storytimes until October. They will be kind of intimidating and intense at first, but at least I have a little while to adjust to the new job before I have to start doing them.

    Business: My mom and I went and bought a fax machine, printer, phones, Quickbooks software, and a bunch of other office supplies on my day off. Then we went to a meeting with our manufacturer and designer. The manufacturer has all of our fabric and the "markers," which I think are these sort of giant pattern layout things. We should have samples of two tops and two skirts (all in two fabrics) by next Tuesday, which means we can start taking pictures of the clothes, which means I can put the website online sometime next week. I'll be posting the address here as soon as it's ready for public consumption.

    Update: the website is live! Check it out here.

    Anyway, all of this is clogging up my thoughts and I haven't had a chance to do anything crafty or think of anything funny. Actually, though, now that I think of it, I finished crocheting my poncho and David and I pulled an awesome fake wedding invitation prank on his former girlfriend. I will have to post pictures and more info on those exciting events, to remind myself that I am not completely boring.

    September 01, 2004

    Lisa: Everything is insane

    1. I got the job at the library (WOOOHOOOO!!!) and I start September 13th.
    2. Blake and I have met with our realtor twice and have been prequalified for a home mortgage.
    3. My mom just took out a line of credit for our business, and we are rushing to finalize things with the manufacturer in time to fill our first order.
    4. I ordered a Scion xA.
    5. I started crocheting a poncho last night around midnight. Because...?

    It is obviously a time for new beginnings. And a time for increased chance of stress-related illness or accident. I am planning to take deep breaths, drink lots of Diet Coke, and attempt to form coherent thoughts.

    August 20, 2004

    Lisa: Brain Cloud

    It looks like I am too late to buy the car I had my heart set on. The Echo, which I blathered about here, is apparently being discontinued, although I find no evidence of that on the Toyota website. None of the dealers in the entire region have a new Echo. I am so bummed! I loved its cuteness and incredible gas mileage, but most of all I was excited about the oh-so-affordable price. I want to buy a car with cash, and I think we will have to earn two or three thousand more dollars before we could consider buying a different but comparable new vehicle. Getting a loan for $2200 or whatever would be lame. All of the Toyota dealers want to sell me a Scion XA when they hear I am looking for an Echo, but I am not convinced. The Scion is not as cute. It is a hatchback with four individual seats. Its base price is $2000 more than the Echo. True, it has more standard features...

    I guess I will have to decide what to do. The problem is that if we buy a house soon (which we want to do) and/or if I get a library job (and I'm interviewing for one on Monday!), I will almost assuredly not be able to ride the light rail to work. We will need another car, period. I was just hoping I could go to the dealership, tell them exactly what I wanted, come home with something shiny and NEW that I loved, and feel happy and carefree. Now I am all stressed out about it and worried I will make the wrong choice.


    I just moved into a new office at work. It is much bigger than my old office, with tons of storage space and real wood furniture instead of the gray modular stuff. I love it. And they are sending me to a conference in New Orleans in September, which should be awesome. I had just decided I was feeling good about staying at this job for a while when I got called for the aforementioned interview for a library job that I applied for months ago. Now I am almost hoping I DON'T get the library job, which is crazy.

    In other, not-related news, Sarah gave me this super cute librarian pin from Fred Flare for graduation! I love it, but I'm not sure whether or not I'm actually making fun of myself by wearing it. I mean, is it an ironic librarian pin? Whatever, it's cute.

    Also, the guy I mentioned a couple of months ago is starting medical school on Monday at the medical school WHERE I WORK, so I guess I will only be seeing more of him. Whoopee.

    July 21, 2004

    Lisa: Numbered to create a false sense of order

    1. A few weeks ago I traded in my super-heavy "compact" day planner for a palmOne Zire 31 handheld. I really like it so far. Not only is it much smaller and lighter than my planner (giving me an excuse to buy a smaller purse), but it seems like a really functional, basic handheld. I mean, it doesn't have a camera or phone in it, or wireless connectivity and internet/email checking (which I don't need), but it has plenty of memory and a backlit screen, and it's easy to use. Best of all, it wasn't too expensive AND it fulfilled my (recurrent) need to buy something shiny. The one unfortunate side effect is that I have become addicted to solitaire. The moment I get on the train, out comes the handheld--and it doesn't let you cheat, either, so I feel like I have to keep playing until I win one. Hey, it's hard to fit books into my cute smaller purse, okay?

    2. A cheesy but cute song about being a librarian can be listened to here. For some reason I think it would be more appealing with a youngish woman singing instead.

    3. This is the car I want to buy. I want four doors, standard transmission, color-keyed sport fender and rocker panel extensions, rear window defogger, power steering, air conditioning, power door locks and windows, radio/cassette/in-dash CD player, and maybe a color-keyed rear spoiler (just because I drive fast like that). The Echo (or ECHO, since Toyota insists on spelling it with all caps) gets the best gas mileage of all the Toyotas except the hybrid Prius, at 42 miles per gallon on the highway. It's also Toyota's cheapest vehicle. Also, it is very cute and cartoony-squished looking (hard to tell from the website). I want to buy a new 2004 model right after the 2005s come out and they have to reduce prices to get rid of the 2004s. When is that, anyway? I can't decide on the color. Maybe Aqua Ice Opalescent (too trendy?), Impulse Red Pearl (hard to keep clean?), or Silver Streak Mica. I figure there's no problem with buying a brand new car with all the options I want as long as it's an inexpensive car to start out with and we're buying it with cash, right? Right?

    4. The paper store closes at six on weekdays. This is unacceptable. What about people who have jobs? Do they not have paper needs?

    5. Is it illegal to place tracking devices on people and/or their vehicles? Is it ethically wrong? Is it even possible? How would one go about doing so? Can said people then be tracked on my Zire 31? We all know that I am a stalker at heart. Tracking devices would save me so much trouble.

    June 25, 2004

    Lisa: A few items of varying importance

    1. I am wearing my "World's Best Grandma" shirt today, which nobody seems to think is funny but me. Maybe it's because I live in Utah--do people think it's possible I really could be a grandma? Whatever. I think the shirt is funny, and besides, I look hot in it.

    2. Molly, Blake, and I are getting more and more serious about our trip to the British Isles (is that capitalization correct?) next summer, which I think I have mentioned before. I am totally excited. Molly and I went to Europe together in college, and we did the whole giant backpack, youth hostel, Eurail Pass, five countries (and ten cities) in three weeks thing. This would be different. This would be hotels and quite possibly a rental car. This would be seeing things we want to see, not just things we feel we are obligated to see because they're famous or important (although seeing the famous/important things has its merits). Anyway, the planning is half the fun, so we're starting to research costs and things we might want to see. If you have any suggestions, please comment! My assignment is to look for books and movies with a historical (fiction or non) slant set (and/or filmed) in the British Isles--you know, to get us in the mood.

    3. Talking about going on a trip next summer has led to a lot of talks on future plans in general. Blake graduated in May and has been looking for jobs, and I graduate in August. There's just a lot of change coming up for us, I think. Within the next year, we (Blake and I) would like to:

  • get new jobs
  • buy a new car
  • buy a house
  • attempt to increase the surplus population
    All those things are kind of a big deal, but I am suprisingly not freaked out. Maybe it's not real enough yet.

    4. I am thinking about quitting my job and applying to be a substitute librarian at both the city and county library systems. My theory is that between the two systems I would be able to get plenty of hours, and the people at the libraries would get to know me, making me more likely to be considered if any librarian jobs ever open up. I wouldn't get benefits, but hopefully Blake can get benefits through his new job (which is still nonexistent at this point). I need to research how many hours I could realistically expect to get before making a real decision. Any thoughts?

  • June 14, 2004

    Lisa: Schooled

    I finished my comprehensive essay exams last night (WOOHOOOOO!!!), which means I am almost done with the Capstone Experience of my master's program. The other main component is a leadership project, which I'm basically done with. I just have to have one more meeting and then write about what I did.

    In case anyone's interested in my project (or indirectly my lack of postings lately), here's what it entailed:
    I made 15 story sacks for the library of the Young Parents Center, which is an alternative high school for students who become parents and want to bring their children with them to school. The sacks each contain a few related books, some activity items, a sheet with more activity ideas and tips on reading to babies, and a bunch of reading lists and brochures from the county library system. I took pictures of a few of the sacks this morning to include with my write-up, so you get to see them too. (Click on the dealy-hops to see the bigger thingummies.)



    By the end of the week, my write-up will be done and turned in, and that means no more Capstone! I just have to finish out summer semester (three classes) and then I graduate in August. In Vegas. Yeah, it will be the hottest--but also the funnest, right? If you know of any fabulous yet affordable hotels, please let me know.

    April 19, 2004

    Lisa: Great, now I'm hungry.

    Blake said he would like these Snacks panties even more if they came with a matching bra labeled "dinners." I think you have to have read Raney (or be married to someone who has read Raney) to get that reference.

    On a related note:
    Until today, I thought that "dinners" was a fairly commonly used euphemism for "breasts" in the South, but searching online has proved otherwise. And let me tell you, a Google search involving the word "breasts" is not to be undertaken lightly.

    February 24, 2004

    Lisa: Rockin' the vote

    Today the library is a polling location for the party-run Utah Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, and it has been insane. There has been a steady stream of people coming in to vote, so many that the library manager is threatening to bar the doors in one minute when voting is officially over. Democrats of Utah, I am proud of you! Thank you for still caring, even though your votes are often overruled by the vast number of people who mistakenly think that voting Republican is their church responsibility. Up with the democratic process! (And down with politicians whose faces are too small for their heads. I am not naming names.)

    Also, apparently they now allow junior high kids to vote--either that or I am officially Very Old. Look for me to start using an earhorn sometime soon.

    Lisa: A very pressing question

    What software/hardware setup do I need in order to copy movies and tv shows from DVDs onto my PowerBook, manipulate clips from them, and burn the result onto new DVDs? My laptop has a superdrive, so I have the DVD burning capability covered. iMovies or whatever program comes with OS X won't do it. How will I ever make my librarian video clip quiz game?

    February 21, 2004

    Lisa: I guess I'll let them live.

    Today at the library, a woman using one of the computers was frustrated because the website that she was trying to print information from was formatted such that a bunch of the text was outside the printable area of the page. I showed her how to select just the text, right click on it, and print the selected area--which of course solved her problem. (Don't worry, copyright freaks. The URL still prints on the bottom of the page when you do this from IE.) She was so happy! I quote: "I can't thank you enough for teaching me something today. You really helped me, and I appreciate it very much." She even thanked me again (By name--curse you, nametag-driven overfamiliarity!) when she left.

    Here's what I learned:

  • What I am doing is worthwhile.
  • There are nice people out there.
  • Libraries and librarians are still needed and appreciated.

    Thank you, computer-using woman! You have restored my faith in humanity and in myself.

  • January 27, 2004

    Lisa: How can it be crass if it's written on premium 60 lb. ecru paper with a fountain pen?

    I really want this set of old-school library lending cards and pockets that say "From the Personal Library of..." on them, from Levenger. They even come with a date stamp, a "Reference Only: Does Not Circulate" stamp, and a pencil, all in a little cherrywood box. (Hey, isn't Valentine's Day coming up? And isn't Valentine's day all about consumerist pressures on people in relationships...?)

    Anyway, I'm wondering if book-borrowers might find the whole check-out thing a little rude. I mean, if someone offered to lend you a book, but then went through the whole process of checking it out and stamping it with the date they wanted it returned, the whole gesture would seem a little less generous. On the other hand, maybe the borrowers would find the card-and-pocket system quaint and endearing. At least I can be sure it isn't as rude as asking for a Valentine's Day present.

    Edited to add:
    Fred Flare is offering a similar set. Don't worry, everyone, I didn't get either set for Valentine's Day, so you can still get one for me. (Phewf!)

    January 24, 2004

    Lisa: I can tell this is going to rock.

    While I was working on the information desk today, I looked up a few things for myself, too:

    Checked out:
    Run Lola, Run

    Put on hold:
    All About Eve
    The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
    Living in Oblivion
    Lord Peter: a collection of all the Lord Peter Wimsey stories
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the album

    The Pixies: Bossanova
    The Best of Morissey
    Party Girl

    My list doesn't stand a chance--I think this is the best job ever.

    November 20, 2003

    Lisa: Nobody sings in the library

    If you have a second to watch a short video, and you really like books and/or musicals, you need to watch this.

    On the other hand, if you want to watch a music video, but hate musicals and books, and just have a general feeling of apathy toward everything, then this is for you.

    September 19, 2003

    Lisa: Shelve the Issue

    I am not very good at spacial thinking or story problems, and I have a deceptively simple question that I have not been able to find the answer to:

    How many bookcases do I need?

    I can count the number of books I have, but how many books fit in each bookcase? I know that books are different sizes, but even an estimate would be helpful. I can't just start buying bookcases, one at a time, until all the books are shelved. How would I know how big of a room I need to hold the bookcases that are holding my books? And what if you have a whole basement full of books, and you don't want to count them all? Say that you know you have 10 bookcases full--how many books is that?

    I have found online calculators of the square footage of storage space in a bookcase, but I don't know the square footage of my books! Libraries and bookstores must have some kind of formula for this type of calculation. Why don't they publish this valuable information online?

    September 08, 2003

    Lisa: You mean I might have to get a real job?

    I have this fantasy. No, it's not about D-Bo, you sickos! Anyway, here it is (not that you asked):

    A wealthy older woman in my neighborhood has spent the last ten years aquiring an extensive collection of high quality children’s picture books. I don’t know if the books were taking up too much room in her home or if the woman developed a social conscience, but she now wants to share the picture books with the community. She doesn’t want to donate them to the public library, because she wants the collection to stay together with her name on it. Also, the nearest city library is a ten-minute drive and she would like the children in her neighborhood to be within walking distance.

    Since this woman knows that I am working on a degree in library science, she wants me to investigate what it would take to start a privately owned “public” library. Of course, I would be the librarian...

    After that it just gets too personal.

    August 01, 2003

    Lisa: homer simpson pictures the matrix

    Some people say that librarians will become obsolete. Apparently, everyone in the future will search for their information on Google instead of coming in to the library. Well, people may search on Google, but I doubt they'll find what they're looking for. Believe me, there will be a need for intelligent individuals who know how and where to look in order to find the relevant answers.

    How do I know this, you may ask? Why, I simply look at the search phrases that bring people to this site. Most of our readers seem to be looking for porn or information on teeth, but some of the queries are sad or just plain bizarre. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • "david boreanaz jewish" What? D-Bo? I heard he was a Mormon.
  • "lisa simpson porn" Now, that’s just wrong.
  • "if mark and tara got married it could be so goo for other people in the world" For real. This is a search.
  • "young girls with rotten teeth" Am I wrong to assume this is some kind of sicko porn reference? Ew.
  • "morpheus teeth" ?
  • "magic the gathering nerdy" Enough said.
  • "ion blow dryers danger" DANGER!!
  • "watch me webcam" For the Irish/Scottish/Pirate porn lover. “Arrr, matey. They’re always after me lucky webcam.”

  • July 25, 2003

    Sarah: posty mcbloggson

    Because of my lack of an internet connection at home, I frequent neighboring public libraries to check my email and google around. At each of these libraries, small whiteboards with the time you began using the computers keep you from exceeding your half hour time limit. (A half hour is simply not long enough to satisfy my internet cravings. Sometimes I have to library hop to pacify my addiction.)

    One of these libraries that I usually don't patronize (I try not to talk down to libraries in general. ha... ha... Okay, not funny.) has a more strict policy. Instead of writing down your own time, a certain employee has apparently been hired exclusively for the purpose of sitting at a desk and writing down the time when you come in to use the computers. Because you never know when someone is going to commit the devastating act of falsifying a start time! This employee cracked me up for other reasons, besides his apparent disposibility (is that a word?). [I can't even begin to understand what you meant by that, so, no, I don't think it's a word. -- Lisa] He comes around and tells patrons when they only have a minute left. Because, you know, that little whiteboard is a ticking time bomb and every minute over a half hour will upset the balance of the universe.

    Also, he wears a fannypack. Always. So that he can keep his essential belongings with him at all times. Because sometimes his desk is just too far away. I wonder what he keeps in this fannypack. A first aid kit? A dry erase marker for false time correction? Nasal spray? I'm thinking of developing a librarian fannypack, with all the librarian essentials. I could give it to Lisa as a graduation present. [Hey, that's a good idea. I would pay good money for a bumbag full of librarian essentials. You know, like black lipstick, fingerless black net gloves, a roach clip, and giant safety pins! -- Lisa] Not that I think all librarians are tragically uncool. Some are great, especially my sister! This guy just looks as if an incorrect calculation of your computer use time would make him swoon.

    Update: Today he was wearing the fanny pack, but one of his pockets was still bulging with stuff. Like, the fanny pack doesn't have a great enough capacity? The time that I must relinquish use of the computer is 5:19. Not that I care, but why not just put down 5:20? It's not as if a mutiny would begin if other library patrons learned that I had exceeded the time limit by one minute. Library Guy also came by one of the computers to adjust a white board that had been placed in its slot on its side. Oh, the horror! I don't know why I pay so much attention. In the grand scheme of things, his actions have little or no effect on me whatsoever. But if people didn't let little things like this distract them from what really matters, we'd have hardly any blogs at all.

    June 20, 2003

    Lisa: Stream of Bookishness

    So, I was looking over the search phrases that brought people to our site, and I noticed "tooth books." As it happens, I have an excellent book about teeth to recommend: Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, by Laurie Keller. Ostensibly a picture book aimed at encouraging youngsters to brush, Open Wide is chock-full of very detailed and often hilarious illustrations that can keep even an adult (or at least me) entertained for a while.

    The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

    And that reminded me of another book with a similar (but much more sophisticated) illustration style, called The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, by George Saunders. This book is for slightly older kids with an attention span that's a little bit longer, but it's full of imagination and humor. And the moral of the story is much more important (and subtle) than "brush your teeth!"

    June 13, 2003

    Sarah: Do You Yahoo?

    A few weeks ago, I was at the computer at my local public library, and a 14 year old boy sat down next to me. This would be rather unremarkable, but he kept talking to himself about the sites on the internet he was going to. Slightly amused, I continued with my personal web surfing, trying to ignore the boy, to spare both of us embarrassment. I nearly lost it and burst into laughter when he visited www.yahoo.com and sang, in his 12-inch voice "yaHOOOOOO".
    Today I saw this boy again, but this time he was accompanied by a good (and extremely strange) friend of our little brother. Amazing how it just all seemed to make sense.

    June 12, 2003

    Lisa: I figured it out all by myself.

    I know nobody was eagerly awaiting this quiz except me, but here you go:
    You are Giles.  Intelligent and a little old fashioned, you make being a librarian dead sexy.
    You are Rupert Giles, from "Buffy the Vampire

    What Type of Librarian Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    June 03, 2003

    Lisa: Needed: One Brain

    How does one go about creating one of those quizzes I have such a penchant for filling out? I want to do one called "What type of Librarian Are You?". Trust me, this is a genius idea. Anyone? Bueller?

    May 21, 2003

    Sarah: Money Can't Buy Me Love

    Nothing like seeing a guy at a public library looking up "Russian Mail Order Brides" on the internet to brighten your day.

    May 12, 2003

    Sarah: 12-Inch Whispers

    As is evident by Lisa's earlier haiku, I have no internet connection at my house. Because of this, I frequent the library at a near-daily basis to check my email, enjoy our blog, and other www excursions. Today a young mother came in with her two young children. As she sat in the chair next to me, she settled the child in the stroller down while threatening the older child of impending doom if any Kix were found on the floor. After focusing on her children, the woman then dialed up her cell phone as she began work on the internet. First discussing her inability to afford a home, and then chatting about a mutual acquaintance. None of this would have even drawn my attention or inspired eavesdropping (which I know it sounds like I was doing) if she had been talking in a low voice, but she was talking loudly! Finally, another patron asked her if she would consider talking away from people that were trying to concentrate. THANK YOU!! Now, I'm not the librarian sister or anything, but that is just rude! If you really need to make or recieve a call while at the library, I'd understand. But talk quietly and briefly!

    April 18, 2003

    Lisa: Librarian Video Collage

    I want to make a video of clips from various movies and TV shows involving librarians. I'm not sure what the purpose of this video would be, but I suspect that the possibilities are endless (ha). A game played at a librarian-themed event, where you guess what movies the clips are from! Part of a presentation on the stereotypical portrayal of librarians in the media! And so forth! [Legal Disclaimer: this video would be for personal use only, not sold or distributed in any way.]

    Anyway, here is a list of possible candidates for inclusion. If you think of a show I have forgotten, please let me know!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Giles)
    Angel (Wolfram & Hart corporate librarian)
    UHF (Conan the Librarian)
    Party Girl
    Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Foul Play (Goldie Hawn)
    The Music Man

    The following shows have been suggested by others. If you want to say yay or nay, or would care to enlighten me as to what these have to do with librarians, please comment!

    The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
    The Shawshank Redemption
    Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade
    Joe vs. the Volcano (I think Joe was some kind of corporate librarian at the beginning of the movie)
    Caveman's Valentine?
    Where the Heart Is
    Breakfast at Tiffany's (they may or may not have meant The Breakfast Club)

    Also, I'm not sure how to go about making this fabulous clip montage once I have assembled a satisfactory list. What technology do I need? And do I have to rent all of these movies at once? I might need to find some sponsors if I have to do that. And....GO!

    April 15, 2003

    Lisa: Monotonous Doesn't Mean Boring!

    I wish I had more routine in my life. Really! I long for the comfort that I imagine routine will bring. For example, Monday should be library day. Pack up the (future) little kiddies in the car with their canvas tote bags of last week’s books, and come home with a promising new batch. Maybe even check out a musical or something vaguely educational on video to watch before bed on Monday night.

    On a related note, my dad always goes to the dry cleaners on Saturdays. I have accompanied him on this errand many times, basking in his company even when we couldn’t relate to each other well enough to come up with any conversation. I wish I could convince Blake to go to the dry cleaners every Saturday. Imagine—all the clothes I own, available to wear on a whim! No more late-night or pre-concert dry cleaner-related panic! On the other hand, going to the dry cleaner on a very infrequent basis has its benefits. Just the other day, the dry cleaners handed me a fetching black silk sweater that I had completely forgotten I owned! It was like Christmas.

    Maybe I’ll wait until Blake and I have kids to settle into a fulfilling, satisfying routine. After all, Sarah already thinks my married life “sounds monotonous.” Plus, I’m not quite ready to give up those unpredictable, devil-may-care trips to the dry cleaner.

    April 06, 2003

    Lisa: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    Once in a while it pays to pick up your little brother's book and start reading it. Here's what I read today:

    "And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and to water him."

    --So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams